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The Rare Disease Social Research Center


Research focus: Members of the Rare Disease Social Research Center (RDSRC, https://rdsrc.ifispan.pl/en/) conduct interdisciplinary and comparative qualitative research at the intersection of sociology of health and illness, medical anthropology, medical technologies, bioethics, and disability studies. Specifically, we attend to the lived experience of people with rare and/or chronic conditions and their caregivers. We further examine health care policies and practices, knowledge production, the role of different stakeholders (health professionals, patient advocacy organizations, health policy makers, etc.) and biomedical technologies in the field of chronic and/or rare diseases. Recently, we have started analyzing rare diseases in the context of global health. We are also interested in scrutinizing the relationship between health and religion, health and environment as well as health and migration.

RDSRC organizes a seminar series on “Society and Technologies on Health and Illness.” In the winter semesters 2022-23 and 2023-24, RDSRC held a seminar series on “Critical Mental Health.” All seminars are open to PhD students. 

Additionally, the RDSRC organized two international workshops on rare diseases at the IFiS PAN in Warsaw, Poland (March 2022) and at the Brocher Foundation Center in Hermance, Switzerland (May 2023; co-organizer: Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences). 

Recent research projects:

  • 2024-2026: “Transition in Rare Diseases.” Joint Project under the Scientific Agreement between the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. PIs: Malgorzata Rajtar (RDSRC/ IFiS PAN) & Eva-Maria Knoll (Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences).
  • 2018-2023: “An Anthropology of Rare Diseases. A Study of the Baltic Sea Region.” National Science Center in Poland (Grant No. 2017/26/E/HS3/00291). PI: Malgorzata Rajtar (RDSRC/ IFiS PAN)

Head of the RDSRC: Dr hab. Małgorzata Rajtar, prof. IFiS PAN

Faculty interested to serve as supervisor/co-supervisor to GSSR PhD students:

Małgorzata Rajtar: mrajtar@ifispan.edu.pl 

GSSR PhD Students: Muhammedrezai Baris Kamyab, Beata Szulęcka

For a full list of RDSRC members and collaborators, and for more information please view our website at: https://rdsrc.ifispan.pl/en/